Historic Districts to get EV Charging Stations

In order to attract visitors who drive electric cars to San Marco, the San Marco Merchants Association was awarded a grant by JEA and the North Florida Transportation Organization (TPO) to have an electric vehicle (EV) charging station installed near San Marco Square.

Across the river, residents in the new 220 Riverside and Brooklyn Station apartments who have chosen to minimize their carbon footprint will soon be able to use electric cars with greater convenience.

As part of its Regional Alternative Fuels Master Plan, the North Florida TPO has provided $300,000 in funding from its Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program to purchase and install 27 EV charging stations with electric utilities at locations within the JEA service territory throughout the greater Jacksonville, including three in Riverside.

JEA has contracted with Novacharge to install the ChargeWell-brand stations. They will be “Level 2” charging stations allowing vehicles to retain a full charge in a couple of hours, said Marci Larson of the North Florida TPO.

Currently, there are 15 Level 2 EV charging stations within Jacksonville including nine that are located on auto dealer lots, said Gerri Boyce, Media Relations Coordinator for JEA. Two public DC Fast Chargers powerful enough to energize a Leaf or BMWi3 in 30 minutes are also currently available – one at JEA headquarters downtown and one at the Gate Town Center in Southside, Boyce said. “We anticipate more DC Fast Chargers across the area in the next 12 months,” she said.

The San Marco Merchants Association charging station will be placed in the back corner of the Southside Baptist Church’s parking lot across from the church on San Marco Place, behind Firehouse Subs. Other locations in the San Marco/San Jose area where EV charging stations will be installed include the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) at 1025 Museum Circle; the JTA Kings Avenue garage, 1003 Kings Street; and A Stitch In Time, 5724 St. Augustine Road near San Jose Elementary School.

The San Marco Merchants Association applied to have an EV charging station built in the back corner of the Southside Baptist Church parking lot off San Marco Place in back of Firehouse Subs, said George Foote, Executive Director of the SMMA in a meeting of the association Oct. 14.

The goal of the request is part of the SMMA’s plan to keep bringing activity into San Marco Square, he said. The approximate cost of installing the charging station at this location will be the cost of the station plus $7,500 for its installation, Foote said. There will be no cost to the SMMA, said Boyce. Once installed, ownership will be given to SMMA, she said.

Two parking spaces will be set aside for electric vehicles to charge, Foote said.

In order to be awarded a charging station, the applicant had to guarantee the station’s location would be accessible to the public, Larson said.

“We are excited to have such a great EV charging station location in San Marco and look forward to working with the San Marco Merchants Association to promote the ChargeWell network and drive electric in Jacksonville,” said Peter King, of JEA who is coordinating the project.

Locations in Riverside include The Cummer Museum, 854 Riverside Drive; Fidelity/Black Knight Building, 601 Riverside Avenue, Building 5; and Bold City Brewery, 2670-7 Rosselle Street.

“Anything we can do to help the environment and those people who have the carts and are trying to do some good,” said Brian Miller of Bold City Brewery about his decision to apply for a charging station. “We want to do something for others who are trying to do the right thing.”

Installation of the stations will begin in October and take three months to complete, said Larson.

Prior to the decision, the TPO and JEA held public meetings to reach out to the community in order to find convenient locations for the EV chargers. The locations were selected after organizations or merchants applied.

Additional funds from TPO have been made available with priority for charging stations in Nassau, Clay and St. Johns counties, said Boyce. No details are yet available for this phase of the project, she said.

In the future, the TPO will work with other utilities to expand its ChargeWell network and provide electric vehicle drivers with more opportunities to charge up in the region, Larson said.

The $300,000 allocated for the EV charging stations is part of a nearly $5 million in funding the North Florida TPO and Clean Fuels Coalition have spent toward reducing petroleum dependence by encouraging the speedy adoption of alternative fuels, vehicles and infrastructure in the region, said Larson.

Additional investments awarded by the TPO went to St. Johns County CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) Fleet and Public Access Station ($732,000); Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) Fleet and Public Access CNG Stations ($2.75 million) so that JTA can buy approximately 100 CNG buses and modify its bus maintenance facility downtown; Florida East Coast Railway (FEC) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Pilot Project ($375,000) to help FEC purchase four new locomotives with LNG kits and two fuel cars; City of Jacksonville Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Sanitation Trucks ($315,000) so the city can cover CNG equipment costs for up to seven new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) sanitation trucks; Clean Truck Program ($162,000) in partnership with JAXPORT to assist truck owners in converting to more fuel efficient and cleaner burning engines in order to reduce port truck emissions.

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News
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